Today’s Scriptures: Lectionary selections from the Revised Common Lectionary Year C
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-17, 31-35
Recently a friend of mine announced the beginning of his “birthday week” on Facebook with “opportunities” for his friends to celebrate with him. For many people I know their birthday is the biggest celebration of the year: it is one day that is all about them (and the millions of other people born on that date). For me, Maunday Thursday is the best day of the year. We get to celebrate essential ministry of Christ as demonstrated by the exchanges in the upper room. There is no gift to give but service to those around us. The greatest lesson for me lies in realizing that sometimes I have to let others serve and minister to my needs.
As is usual on Maundy Thursday, the passages include the Exodus history of the Passover meal which is what Christ celebrated with his apostles in the upper room. The Passover reminded the Jews of God’s loving care for them and his power over the enemies as he spared the lives of those protected by the blood of the lamb. The plagues of Egypt had been severe and annoying to that point, but nothing like the deaths of firstborn to strike at the heart of those who held the Israelites as slaves.
The passage in Corinthians provides the directions most churches follow in offering Communion or the Last Supper
In the John passage, Jesus takes the final moments with those closest to him to share final essentials to his ministry. In his actions and lessons, he demonstrates the servant leadership aspect of being Christ. All through the week we have seen different expectations of what it means to be Christ, but as Jesus washes the feet of the apostles and breaks the bread and shares the wine with them, Christ the servant leader emerges as the expectation for all Christians. While sometimes wet caught up in the theology of complex interpretations of what the words of Christ meant. Debates rage between faith and works advocates. In the upper room, Jesus condenses it all into the theology of the washrag. We are not greater than anyone around us (neither are we lesser) and serving one another demonstrates (works) the love we have through Christ (faith). We are often taught that leadership comes by dominating others. As believers, we know from Christ that meaningful leadership comes by serving and being an example. For Christ to spend his last night teaching and practicing such humility, I know that I too, must practice that same humility. It is how the world will know I am a Christian.
Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org